On June 6, 2020, on the commemoration of D-Day, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) virtually joined The Friends of the Veterans Memorial Parkway, Inc. (FVMP), along with the Town of Hebron, Governor Eric Holcomb and representatives from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to celebrate the first mile of the Veterans Memorial Trail, which will connect Indiana to the national cross-country Great American Rail-Trail.
When completed, the Veterans Memorial Trail will link Hebron to the City of Crown Point along the Veterans Memorial Parkway (U.S. 231). The trail, which was funded in part with a state-based Next Level Trails grant, will connect a series of memorials honoring the sacrifices of those who served and died for America. The Veteran’s Memorial Trail connection is the latest announcement of progress along the preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail.
“What a milestone for Indiana, the Town of Hebron, and the City of Crown Point. Indiana is no stranger to dreaming big when it comes to walking and bicycling projects,” said Ryan Chao, President of RTC. “Your leadership—and your goal of having a trail within 5 miles of every person who lives in your state is aspirational and powerful.”
The Veterans Memorial Trail segment joins the recently completed Pennsy Greenway Extension, also being celebrated with a ribbon-cutting today, as the first new trail miles to be added to the Great American Rail-Trail in Indiana since the project was announced in May of 2019. These two trail segments bring the total miles of existing trail along the Great American in Indiana to 221.
“The leadership that Governor Holcomb and the state have shown in prioritizing trail funding with the innovative Next Level Trails grant provided the resources to move this trail segment forward,” Chao added. “And it provides a model for other states to follow—you’re showing the country how you get trails built and with a priority on making connections between people and places. It’s really something to applaud.”